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Illustrations of the Huttonian Theory of the Earth

Illustrations of the Huttonian Theory of the Earth


Part of Cambridge Library Collection - Earth Science

  • Date Published: May 2011
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108072311

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About the Authors
  • John Playfair (1748–1819) was a Scottish mathematician and geologist best known for his defence of James Hutton's geological theories. He attended the University of St Andrews, completing his theological studies in 1770. In 1785 he was appointed joint Professor of Mathematics at the University of Edinburgh, and in 1805 he was elected Professor of Natural Philosophy. This highly influential book, first published in 1802, contains Playfair's clarification and summary of Hutton's geological concepts. Playfair concisely explains Hutton's theories on erosion and geothermal heat in rock formation and the concept of uniformitarianism in geology, illustrating these theories with his own precise observations on different types of rock strata. The clarity of Playfair's explanations was instrumental in popularising Hutton's geological theories, many of which are now recognised as key principles of modern geology. Playfair's strident defence of Hutton's ideas formed part of a controversial debate between Hutton's supporters and his detractors.

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2011
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108072311
    • length: 554 pages
    • dimensions: 216 x 140 x 31 mm
    • weight: 0.7kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Phenomena Peculiar to Stratified Bodies:
    1. Materials of the strata
    2. Consolidation of the strata
    3. Position of the strata
    Part II. Phenomena Peculiar to Unstratified Bodies:
    1. Metallic veins
    2. Whinstone
    3. Granite
    Part III. Phenomena Common to Stratified and Unstratified Bodies: Notes and Additions:
    1. Origin of calcareous earth
    2. Origin of coal
    3. Primitive mountains
    4. Primary strata not primitive
    5. Transportation of the materials of the strata
    6. Kirwan's notion of precipitation
    7. Compression in the mineral regions
    8. Sparry structure of calcareous petrifactions
    9. Petroleum, etc.
    10. The height above the level of the sea, at which marks of aqueous deposition are found
    11. Fracture and dislocation of the strata
    12. Elevation and inflexion of the strata
    13. Metallic veins
    14. On whinstone
    15. On granite
    16. Rivers and lakes
    17. Remains of decomposed rocks
    18. Transportation of stones, &c.
    19. Transportation of materials by the sea
    20. Inequalities of the planetary motions
    21. Changes in the apparent level of the sea
    22. Fossil bones
    23. Geology of Kirwan and De Luc
    24. System of Buffon
    25. Figure of the earth
    26. Prejudices relating to the theory of the earth.

  • Author

    John Playfair

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